© 2017 Ecology New Zealand

Tis the time of the bees and wasps

Between the months of October and March both bees and wasps become very active. This is also the time when many people ring their local council to report wasps and bees on public land. This is the best course of action when the bees or wasps are on public land, as the council can then send out someone to look after the problem, however there are a couple of things you need to be able to tell the council in order for it to happen.

A Swarm of bee found under some raspberry canes.

1. Is it a bee or a wasp?

This is important, as in most cases the wasps will be killed and where possible the bees will be collected and taken away by a beekeeper.

2. Where is the swarm or nest?

The exact location is important to find them easily. Are they in a tree, if so, what does the tree look like and where is the tree located in the park? Are they coming out of the ground, are there several places they are coming out of the ground?

3. Your best contact phone number

This is so the contractor can ring you and find out exactly where the bees or wasps are and best access to them and when they will be there.

 

Both wasps and bees have been introduced to New Zealand. Where the bees have a positive impact on the environment by pollinating plants, wasps are considered a pest.

How can you tell if it's a bee or wasp

Is it Furry?

Yes

This is most likely a Bee

Honey Bees will swarm in order to make a new hive when there is overcrowding in the current one. They are generally docile when swarming as they do not have a hive to protect, however, do not approach them, especially if you are allergic to wasps and bees.

A standard Honey Bee feeding on the nectar. They can come in a range of orange to yellow colours with various striped patterning

The other pollinator around at this time of the year is the bumblebee. They are relatively docile and are not likely to sting unless provoked. They live in small nests in dense vegetation or holes in the ground.

No

This is most likely a wasp

Wasp do not swarm, there are three types of wasp commonly seen within New Zealand.

The Common and German wasps nest underground, in crevices in buildings or in trees.

where as Paper wasps nest in trees, fences or on buildings may have many wasps on the outside of the nest. The nest is usually small, growing from a few cells to about the size of an apple.
 

The picture is of a standard common wasp. common wasps will general have a similar patterning.

The above picture is a Asian Paper wasp on a nest of about 6 cells. There can be several wasp found on the nest as it grows throughout the season.